[APG Public List] Re: [APG Members] surviving spouse "elective share"

Barbara Vines Little, CG bvlittle at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 6 15:06:35 MST 2010

This was actually English common law and you will see the same practice 
in colonial and post-colonial Virginia. You often see a wife getting 
more than a third of the real and personal property by will (usually 
with the proviso that it was a life interest retained until her death or 
marriage). I suspect that it was an incentive not to remarry. Devises 
could be limited by will; a dower interest was for the widow's life 
whether she married again or not.

Barbara Vines Little, CG
PO Box 1273
Orange, VA 22960
bvlittle at earthlink.net

On 1/6/2010 4:47 PM, Kathy Gunter Sullivan wrote:
> In North Carolina law, the widow's elective share was what she would 
> have received (one-third of the real estate for life and one-third of 
> the personal property forever) if her husband had died intestate. The 
> widow had the option to decline the husband's provisions for her in 
> his will, and to elect instead to take what she would have received if 
> he had died without a will (intestate). "I shall fly to my thirds."
> Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG
> Charlotte, North Carolina
> JFonkert at aol.com wrote:
>> Does anyone know the general history of "elective share" of surviving 
>> spouses in testate cases?  I know what modern-day Minnesota law says, 
>> and also know that specifics vary among states.  I am wondering when 
>> such protections became common.  I gather this is an outgrowth of 
>> dower's rights.
>> I am going to be looking at 1840 statutes from a couple of states 
>> tomorrow, but if anyone can give me a quick general picture, I'd 
>> appreciate it.
>> Jay Fonkert, CG
>> http://fourgenerationsgenealogy.blogspot.com/
>> Saint Paul, MN
>> Member, Association of Professional Genealogists
>> (professional profile at www.apgen.org) <http://www.apgen.org%29/>
>> Member, Genealogical Speakers Guild
>> (professional profile at http://www.genealogicalspeakersguild.org/) 
>> <http://www.genealogicalspeakersguild.org/%29>
>> CG (Certified Genealogist) is a service mark of the Board for 
>> Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified 
>> associates after periodic competency evaluations.
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